MISSISSIPPI'S GIFT TO THE BLUES
BY DAN MILLER
(originally posted February 16, 2005)
I like B.B. King. The blues legend makes good music, and seems to be a nice, decent man.
One of the things that intrigues me about him is -- he never sings and plays guitar at the same time.
Watch him closely.... whenever he starts singing, he stops playing.
And when he's playing, he doesn't sing.
He's a master at both, and apparently likes to give his full attention to whichever he is doing at that particular moment.
I'm sorta that way about watching television - and thinking..... I like to keep them separate.
A musician friend pointed out that B.B. never makes chords with his left hand. He just plays notes, and plays them to perfection.
B.B. was born in 1925 on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta. He's still going strong at 79 years old, and has performed all over the world.
But until yesterday, B.B. says he had never set foot in Mississippi's Capitol in Jackson.
Once he got there though, it was apparently something special to see.
The Mississippi House and Senate declared Tuesday "B.B. King Day", and in a packed Senate chamber, Governor Haley Barbour joined the lawmakers in giving B.B. a standing ovation.
B.B. said, "I never learned to talk very well without Lucille" (that's his treasured black Gibson guitar), "but today I'm trying to say only God knows how I feel, I am so happy. Thank you."
He even agreed to sign a rival Fender guitar for the Mississippi Lt. Governor, Amy Tuck.
B.B. said with a smile, "Signing guitars that are not Gibson is like being married and kissing a woman who is not your wife."
Now, to me, that sounds like a blues song.
After all, it was B.B. King who gave us one of the classic song titles, "Nobody Loves Me But My Mother, And She Could Be Jivin' Too".